It’s easy to see why the Pac-12 Conference is so highly-thought of when it comes to D1 men’s soccer.
Currently, the league boasts 3 of the top 4 schools in the HeroSports poll, including BR-3 UCLA. The Bruins have rebounded from a 2-1 overtime setback earlier this month to post a four-match unbeaten streak as they inch closer to conference play.
Led by Leo Stoltz and Larry Ndjock, UCLA has scored eight goals this year, surrendering just four. Stoltz has tallied three, while Ndjock has one. The two have played in all seven matches, four of which have been Bruin victories.
Jorge Salcedo, a former UCLA All-American player, has directed the program for the past 11 seasons. He has won six conference titles and reached the NCAA Tournament each year under his guidance. That includes a title-game run in 2006 and a semifinal-round berth in the College Cup in ’11.
Following a recent 1-0 victory over the University of California Santa Barbara, Salcedo was pleased with the performance he saw.
“We came to Santa Barbara to get a win and that’s exactly what we did,” he said. “From beginning to end we fought really hard, we made the plays we needed to make and we walked away with another great road victory. We have four of them on the season and we’ll continue to get better with some plays that need a little bit more quality. But, you have to be happy with another victory on the road.”
Earl Edwards, Jr. has provided a steady hand in net all year, playing almost 700 minutes and allowing just four goals. He has been tested, stopping 23 total shots and pitching four perfect sheets.
Salcedo showed his experience as head coach earlier this year during a loss to American, taking the brunt of any heat for the defeat.
“(The loss) is squarely on my shoulders,” he said, “I changed our system and tactics to attempt to improve upon our first weekend. From the beginning of the game we were lacking rhythm and an understanding of how to move with and without the ball.”
Since that loss, UCLA has scored wins over New Mexico, along with a pair of double-overtime 0-0 battles with Santa Clara and Cal Poly.
Most recently the Bruins lost BR-42 San Diego, however they quickly bounced back with a 3-0 win over BR-30 CS-Northridge.